Pamela Jelimo is a Kenyan middledistance runner, specialising in the 800 metres. She won the gold medal in this event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing at the age of 18. She is the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal and also the first Kenyan to win the Golden League Jackpot. She holds both the 800160m world junior record and the senior African record over the same distance. Jelimo is also one of the youngest women to win an Olympic gold medal for Kenya.
Pamela Jelimo was born in Kiptamok village, Nandi District, Rift Valley Province. Her mother, Esther Cheptoo Keter, was a promising 200 metres and 400 metres runner, but the customs of the Nandi tribe meant that as the lastborn daughter she could not marry and had to care for her parents in their old age. However, she was allowed to bear children to different men thus, Jelimo was raised by her mother in a family of three brothers and six sisters. Jelimo began running in 2003, aged 13, at Koyo Secondary in the Kaptumo division, near Kapsabet. She quickly established herself as an accomplished athlete, winning at schools championships in the 100 metres, 200160m, 400160m, 800 metres, 400 metres hurdles and heptathlon. Her high school games teacher Philip Ngeno remarked that she used to compete with the boys in sprint events as the girls did not provide the competition she needed.